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Archive for January 12th, 2012

Some players on the national arena hold a vital role holding precariously the whole edifice up. Walter Rathenau was in the Weimar Republic the minister of Reconstruction, a vital role in the devastated country. The Ebert government was facing civil unrest with the Red scare;the economy was in shambles and it needed fixing and he was the ideal man to do it. He was alas a Jew a brilliant technocrat and nationalist. His assassination like the one that started the WWI turned the tide for the nation irretrievably. At the end of the WWI some 27 kings lost their crowns and the map of Europe was redrawn. This was an avoidable war but the murder of Rathenau precipitated events that would end only in total chaos in Germany and destruction of the Third Reich.

Walter Rathenau
1867-1922)
A strong German nationalist, Rathenau was a leading proponent of a policy of assimilation for German Jews: he argued that Jews should oppose both Zionism and socialism and fully integrate themselves into mainstream German society. This, he said, would lead to the eventual disappearance of anti-Semitism. As a powerful, affluent and highly visible German Jewish politician, Rathenau was hated by Germany’s extreme right, despite himself being a German nationalist, culminating in his 1922 assassination.
In 1921, Rathenau was appointed Minister of Reconstruction, and in 1922 he became Foreign Minister. His insistence that Germany should fulfill its obligations under the Treaty of Versailles, while working for a revision of its terms, infuriated extreme German nationalists. He also angered such extremists by negotiating the Treaty of Rapallo, 1922 with the Soviet Union, although the treaty implicitly recognized secret German-Soviet collaboration, begun in 1921, which provided for the rearmament of Germany, including German aircraft manufacturing, inside the Soviet union. The leaders of the (still obscure) Nazi Party and other extreme right-wing groups falsely claimed he was part of a “Jewish-Communist conspiracy”, despite his being a liberal German nationalist who had bolstered the country’s recent war effort.
The British politician Robert Boothby wrote of him: “He was something that only a German Jew could simultaneously be: a prophet, a philosopher, a mystic, a writer, a statesman, an industrial magnate of the highest and greatest order, and the pioneer of what has become known as ‘industrial rationalization’.”
The British writer Morgan Philips Price wrote:
In June 1922 Walter Rathenau, a big Jewish industrialist and progressive economist, was assassinated by gangsters of the extreme Right who were the heart and soul of the Freikorps. I was present at the memorial service in the Reichstag and noted an extraordinary outburst of enthusiasm among the workers of Berlin, as expressed in their trade union leaders and socialist parties, for the Republic and for President Ebert. The rank and file of the Majority Social Democrats were now thoroughly aroused…first Communists, then Socialists, and now a big industrialist were murdered for having Liberal views and, in the last case, for being a Jew. The situation in Germany was becoming more and more sinister.
Others, such as historian Erich Eyck, argue that the murder of Rathenau may have been the singular event that set into motion the period of extreme hyperinflation in Germany during 1922–23:
“But as great as was the impact of Rathenau’s death upon German domestic politics, it left an even greater mark upon the economic scene. Now the tumble of the mark could not be stopped. The dollar, still under 350 on the day of the murder, climbed to 670 by the end of July, to 2000 in August, and to 4500 by the end of October.”
Albert Einstein later commented that he was “greatly disturbed” by Rathenau’s assassination, since he saw it as early proof of an immense anti-pacifist and anti-semitic presence in Germany. (ack:wikipedia)

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My recent paintings

At the moment I am busy with acrylic. I have been busy with two paintings on Shelduck in Flight. These are not finished pieces and I hope to post my works as and when they are somewhat presentable. Hope my readers find them pleasing.
benny

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